Dickens was his real name but Dickie, the Dickster, Dickety-doo-dah, Dixie, Dicky Boy, Sir Dick — he was a boy of many handles, and the songs that went with them.
It had long been Marilyn, Dickie’s mom’s, dream to venture across Canada in a motor home. In fact, I remember her first mentioning this fantasy to me in our twenties. Since we are now in our 60s, it was a couple of years that she had yearned for that adventure. So when she suggested my partner and I might like to care for Dickie over the summer in his Powell River home on the west coast of BC, Canada, while she and her husband toured across the country in their newly purchased 20’ 1988 Chev Citation motor home, we were delighted at the prospect.
He was a charming little character, and the two months with Dickie flew by. At the time, summer 2017, he had recently become the reluctant user of a wheelchair. A mystery occurrence had caused paralysis in his hind legs and when the operation to rectify the problem was less than successful, a mobility alternative for Dickie became necessary. His new wheelchair, supporting his hind legs while he pulled himself along by his front legs, was a new and foreign experience for him. He made it abundantly clear that he was not on board with the idea of being a disabled guy. He scoffed at the chair, sulking at what was clearly an enormous indignity. We doggedly (sorry, couldn’t resist slipping it in….) encouraged him, strapping him into the contraption for his daily walks. He would blink up at us in those first days, as if to say, “Do I have to?”
Still, it seemed only a short time before he began to discover that — with this weird trolley in tow, he could actually explore the world, sniffing his way along, like in the old days. He could even direct his own movements independently again. With newfound confidence and recognizing the benefit of the new device, he actually began to prance eagerly off on walks, wheels rolling along behind like an afterthought. We were glad that he didn’t have them on in the back yard when he tore off without hesitation, yapping raucously at an enormous bear feasting at the apple tree. Only those hind legs dragging along the ground kept him from catching that bear. This shiny-eyed 20-pound bundle of Yorkie-Poo was a ferocious giant in his own mind.
Dickens, at 15, took his final walk and sniff over the rainbow bridge last summer, 2021. He had well earned his rest. RIP little fellow, we miss you.